“Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet”
What mom couldn’t write a book on the effects of stress? Is there a mother out there who isn’t intimately acquainted with all that makes her blood-pressure rise, her head pound, and her stomach acid burn, turning a perfectly nice women into a fire-breathing dragon?
Stress is part of the job description of motherhood. In fact, if you do a search for the top ten stressors in the work place you’ll find that it’s just a description of a normal day in a mother’s life.
So what is a mother to do?
Well, believe it or not, there are some very simple things that any mother can do to reduce stress and to cope better with her daily chaos. Here are a few to start with.
• Breathe – yes, it sounds rather simple, but when was the last time you took a really deep breath? Deep breathing clears stale air out of your lungs, re-energizes your brain, and even helps you lose weight! It’s true! Here’s an exercise to try the next time you start to boil. Using your abdominal muscles, fill your lungs completely to the count of five (count quickly!) then hold your breath for the count of 20 (thus the counting quickly part – don’t want you to pass out!) then completely empty your lungs to the count of 10. Do this five times in a row, 2 to 3 times a day. This is especially good first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
• Sun Yourself – According to Dr. Marie-Annette Brown and Jo Robinson, authors of the book “When Your Body Gets the Blues” you need 20-30 minutes of outdoor light everyday. Their research shows that “bright light is critical (as it) enhances your mood, reduces your food cravings, and gives you more energy. It even increases the blood flow to your brain, improving your memory and sharpening your thinking ability.”
• Take a Hike – Wendy Bumgardner, the “Walking Guide” for About.com, reports that one study of 50 women divided into a group who walked briskly for 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and a control group that did not exercise found that the walkers experienced half as many colds as the control group. The walkers also showed an increase in natural killer cells, immune system cells that attack bacteria and viruses. Another study of employee fitness programs showed that people who exercised as little as once a week averaged nearly five fewer sick days annually than those who did not participate in such programs
• Follow Your Nose – Use the benefits of Aromatherapy to quickly decrease stress. 2-3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil on a cloth hankie can be carried around in your pocket. When stress hits, put the hankie to your nose and breathe deeply 3-4 times (in fact, you could save time and combine this exercise with the first one for a “double whammy” effect!)
• Trip the Light Fantastic – Put on some great music, and dance. Don’t worry about what you look like. In fact, take your kids to the park with a boom box, and dance together. Invite others to join you. Create a party!
• Laugh! – rent a funny movie, and have a good laugh. Laughter is one of the best health medicines out there today. Take full advantage of it, and try and have one hearty laugh every day.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed, instead of popping pills, take deep lavender-scented breaths, while walking and dancing around the block in the sunshine. Now, that’s a serious stress-buster!